The philosophy of the plan of redemption will be treated in a succeeding volume. Here we merely establish the fact that the redemption through Christ Jesus is to be as far-reaching in its blessed results and opportunities as was the sin of Adam in its blight and ruin–that all who were condemned and who suffered on account of the one may as surely, “in due time,” be set free from all those ills on account of the other. However, none can appreciate this Scriptural argument who do not admit the Scriptural statement that death–extinction of being–is the wages of sin.
Those who think of death as life in torment not only disregard the meaning of the words death and life, which are opposites, but involve themselves in two absurdities. It is absurd to suppose that God would perpetuate Adam’s existence forever in torment for any kind of a sin which he could commit, but especially for the comparatively small offense of eating forbidden fruit. Then, again, if our Lord Jesus redeemed mankind, died in our stead, became our ransom, went into death that we might be set free from it, is it not evident that the death which he suffered for the unjust was of exactly the same kind as that to which all mankind were condemned? Is he, then, suffering eternal torture for our sins? If not, then so surely as he died for our sins, the punishment for our sins was death, and not life in any sense or condition.
But, strange to say, finding that the theory of eternal torture is inconsistent with the statements that “the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all,” and that Christ “died for our sins,” and seeing that one or the other must be dropped as inconsistent, some are so wedded to the idea of eternal torture, and so prize it as a sweet morsel, that they hold to it regardless of the Scriptures, and deliberately deny that Jesus paid the world’s ransom-price, though this truth is taught on every leaf of the Bible.
Is Restitution Practicable?
Some have supposed that if the billions of the dead were resurrected, there would not be room for them on the earth; and that if there should be room for them, the earth would not be capable of sustaining so large a population. It is even claimed by some that the earth is one vast graveyard, and that if all the dead were awakened they would trample one upon another for want of room.
This is an important point. How strange it would be if we should find that while the Bible declares a resurrection for all men, yet, by actual measurement, they could not find a footing on the earth! Now let us see: figure it out and you will find this an unfounded fear. You will find that there is an abundance of room for the “restitution of all,” as “God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets.”
Let us assume that it is six thousand years since the creation of man, and that there are fourteen hundred millions of people now living on the earth. Our race began with one pair, but let us make a very liberal estimate and suppose that there were as many at the beginning as there are now; and, further, that there never were fewer than that number at any time, though actually the flood reduced the population to eight persons. Again, let us be liberal, and estimate three generations to a century, or thirty-three years to a generation, though, according to Gen. 5, there were but eleven generations from Adam to the flood, a period of one thousand six hundred and fifty-six years, or about one hundred and fifty years to each generation. Now let us see: six thousand years are sixty centuries; three generations to each century would give us one hundred and eighty generations since Adam; and fourteen hundred millions to a generation would give two hundred and fifty-two billions (252,000,000,000) as the total number of our race from creation to the present time, according to this liberal estimate, which is probably more than twice the actual number.
Where shall we find room enough for this great multitude? Let us measure the land, and see. The State of Texas, United States, contains two hundred and thirty-seven thousand square miles. There are twenty-seven million eight hundred and seventy-eight thousand four hundred square feet in a mile, and, therefore, six trillion six hundred and seven billion one hundred and eighty million eight hundred thousand (6,607,180,800,000) square feet in Texas. Allowing ten square feet as the surface covered by each dead body, we find that Texas, as a cemetery, would at this rate hold six hundred and sixty billion seven hundred and eighteen million and eighty thousand (660,718,080,000) bodies, or nearly three times as many as our exaggerated estimate of the numbers of our race who have lived on the earth.
A person standing occupies about one and two-thirds square feet of space. At this rate the present population of the earth (in 1886, one billion four hundred million persons) could stand on an area of eighty-six square miles–an area much less than that of the city of London or of Philadelphia. And the island of Ireland (area, thirty-two thousand square miles) would furnish standing room for more than twice the number of people who have ever lived on the earth, even at our exaggerated estimate.
There is not much difficulty, then, in settling this objection. And when we call to mind the prophecy of (Isaiah 35:1-6), that the earth shall yield her increase; that the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; that in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert, we see that God indicates that he has foreseen all the necessities of his plan, and will make ample provision for the needs of his creatures in what will seem a very natural way.” (A158-161)
We will take a more extensive look at some of these figures under another post to our blog as soon as possible.
Continued with next post.